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Manufacturing is still critical to the economy United States. Clyde Prestowitz, says it's time to start realizing the positive spillovers that manufacturing creates... Read more  

Events & Activities

Stephen Olson at Chinese Development Institute Conference


 Clyde Prestowitz giving presentation to CDI...


Steve Olson teaching trade negotiations at the Mekong Institute...


Stephen Olson to speak at upcoming workshop organized by the International Institute for Trade and Development on 

"Economics of GMS Agricultural trade in goods and services towards the world market"

Chiangmai, Thailand Sep 8-12.

The American Prospect

Our Incoherent China Policy: 

The proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership is bad economics, and even worse as containment of China.

By Clyde Prestowitz

In the summer of 2009, I was invited with a few other policy analysts to the White House for a briefing on the newly proposed Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). At that time, the potential participants included Canada, Mexico, Peru, Chile, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam, and, of course, the United States. Whether or not Japan would be invited to join had not yet been decided.

Noting that the United States already had free trade agreements with Canada, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Australia, and Singapore, I asked why we needed an agreement that added only the tiny economies of New Zealand, Brunei, Malaysia, and Vietnam. The reply from a member of the National Security Council staff was that it would reassure our Asian allies that America was back; that this agreement would be the economic complement to the increased military deployments of the recently announced “Pivot to Asia” foreign policy, obviously aimed at counterbalancing the spread of Chinese power and influence. Along with health care and a possible treaty on nuclear weapons with Iran, TPP would be a major part of the president’s hoped-for legacy.

To read the article in its entirety in The American Prospect, please click here.


Publishers Weekly Review of "Japan Restored: How Japan Can Reinvent Itself and Why This Is Important for America"

Japan Restored: How Japan Can Reinvent Itself and Why This Is Important for America and the World

Clyde Prestowitz, Author

Labor economist Prestowitz (Rogue Nation) projects visions of Japan’s future in this well-handled study of sensitive politico-economic issues disguised as a love letter to the country. Japan’s economic decline after the 2011 tsunami spurred this peek into a crystal ball. Prestowitz opens with a snapshot of the nation in 2050 as a world leader in technology, medicine, athletics, and education. These strides follow a series of potential crises in 2016 that prompt the government to appoint an Extraordinary National Revitalization Commission. The commission introduces changes that strengthen Japan’s regional power and promote women into management positions, as well as transforming it into an English-speaking nation like Singapore. Finally, the 20th-century zaibatsu model that guaranteed citizens jobs for life is replaced by the profit-driven model that turned Nissan around in 2001. While there’s nothing in this big-themed fabulist tale that seems out of reach, it remains to be seen whether Prestowitz’s well-intentioned advice will make an impact among Japan’s decision makers. (Nov.)


The Hill: TPP Will Undercut U.S. National Security

Clyde Prestowitz
Wednesday, April 29, 2015

To persuade Congress to give him authority for concluding negotiation of a proposed Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement, President Obama is emphasizing that such an undertaking is essential to national security.

The appeal to patriotism is always powerful, but in this instance it is being used as the last refuge of a weak economic argument.

The most optimistic estimates of potential U.S. economic gains from a TPP put them at only 1-3 percent of GDP in ten years. But experience suggests this forecast is wildly optimistic, and that while the agreement might be good for some global corporations it could well be a disaster for average citizens. The 2001 deal to bring China into the World Trade Organization was forecast dramatically to reduce the U.S. trade deficit while creating lots of new American jobs. In actuality, the trade deficit soared and millions of jobs were off-shored to China. Like the TPP, the 2012 U.S.-Korea free trade agreement was billed as a super modern deal that also would cut America’s trade deficit while again creating lots of jobs. The reality has been the reverse of the forecast.The most optimistic estimates of potential U.S. economic gains from a TPP put them

The president himself has acknowledged that previous deals didn’t fulfill expectations, but is arguing that “this time will be different.” Unfortunately, he doesn’t say why except to label the TPP a “21st century” agreement.

Read more ...

McClatchy: Japan's soaring demand for cow tongue drives U.S. exports

December 8, 2014

Rob Hotakainen

SENDAI, Japan -- When Manabu Matsumoto took his fiancé to dinner at the Kisuke cow-tongue restaurant in the Japanese city of Sendai recently, the Tokyo couple faced 28 menu choices.

Among them: mashed tongue, tongue sausage, tongue gravy, tongue salad, tongue stew, fried tongue, salted tongue, tofu slathered with tongue sauce, roasted tongue, smoked tongue, barbecued tongue, tongue mixed with fried egg and the traditional shabu shabu - thinly sliced tongue boiled in water.

In a country where many once regarded Americans as barbarians for eating meat from four-legged animals, Japanese consumers are gobbling up U.S. cow tongue as never before, signaling a rebound for the nation's beef industry.

Only 11 years ago, Japan banned all American beef after the discovery of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, commonly known as mad-cow disease, in one cow in Washington state. 

Read more ...

Reuters: Let Japan help defend America -- and itself

By Clyde Prestowitz

June 2, 2014 -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is now following through on actions laid out in his recent bold speech calling for Japan to defend allies who might be under attack.

But wait, you may ask, hasn’t the United States had a mutual security treaty with Japan for more than half a century?

Well, not quite. Yes, Washington has had a mutual defense-security treaty with Tokyo since 1951. But Japan is not committed to defending the United States or any of its armed forces. In fact, Japanese forces are prohibited from helping Washington in time of war — even if the war is in defense of Japan.

This goes back to the postwar U.S. Occupation of Japan and the creation of the Japanese constitution. Determined that Tokyo would never again pose a threat to its Asian neighbors or the United States, Occupation leader General Douglas MacArthur and his staff were sympathetic to Japanese pacifists’ proposal to include a no-war making article in the constitution, then being written with oversight by the Occupation authorities. This worked with the policies of then-Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida, who wanted to focus on rebuilding the Japanese economy — without the distraction of creating a major defense force.

Read more ...

LA Times: Got intel, Uncle Sam? Share it with U.S. companies

By Clyde Prestowitz

May 25, 2014 -- By charging five Chinese military officers with hacking into U.S. corporations on behalf of Chinese industry, the Obama administration claims it is taking a tough step to protect the intellectual property of American companies. In fact, the move isn't so much tough as toothless.

Given the massive U.S. snooping program revealed by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, the Justice Department took pains to explain why China's cyberespionage is bad but America's isn't. Its argument: The U.S. hacks only for national security purposes, whereas China is stealing trade and technology secrets at the behest of Chinese companies.

GE or Boeing or Intel cannot call up the NSA and ask it to obtain specific information, as it seems Chinese companies routinely do with their military and spy agency hackers. -  

"This is a tactic that the U.S. government categorically denounces," said Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. "We do not collect intelligence to provide a competitive advantage to U.S. companies, or U.S. commercial sectors."

Read more ...

The Financial Times: Obama’s Asian allies need to give something back

April 23, 2014

By Clyde Prestowitz

The president’s hosts should ask what they can do for America, writes Clyde Prestowitz

President Barack Obama will spend the next few days on an awkward mission to Asia. Essentially, he is going to try to tell the Koreans, Japanese, Filipinos and Malaysians that their lives and welfare are more precious to America than those of the Afghans, Ukrainians and Syrians to whose rescue America has recently declined to come. That may not be the truth.

The White House says the president will reassure our Asian allies that they are the country’s top foreign policy priority and that America will act as a protection against the power and influence of China. It says the US will further integrate its economy with those of Asia by concluding the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal with 11 North American and Asia-Pacific countries. This is in response to Asian leaders’ laments that they feel neglected by Washington and uncertain of its commitments to them.

Read more ...

Transcript of Press Call Between DeLauro, Ellison, Slaughter, and Prestowitz


Members of Congress and Experts - April 16, 2014 Press Call on President Obama’s Trip to Asia


Thank you very much, Congressman. Now I’d like to introduce Clyde Prestowitz. Clyde Prestowitz is very well known as one of our country’s lea ding experts on the intersection between geopolitics and economics. He had a long and some might say difficult experience as a U.S. trade negotiator in Japan and Korea and China during the Reagan Administration. And as President of the Economic Strategy Institute, hebrought that negotiator’s experience now to many books and professorships. Clyde, take it away.

Clyde Prestowitz:

Thank you for kindly inviting me. It’s a pleasure to be with the congresspersons. When the TPP was first raised as a possibility, I was among those consulted by the White House on what the objectives of the TPP should be. I asked the officials in charge at the time what the real objective of the U.S. was.

It’s important to understand that the history of the TPP actually began in Singapore. Singapore had been proposing a variety of free trade agreements in the South Pacific and Southwestern Pacific, and for a long time the U.S. ignored these, but then a couple of years ago the White House picked it up as a major objective. And so my question was “why?”

The answer was not that we’re going to create jobs for the United States, not that we’re going to stimulate the U.S. economy, but that we’re going to reassure our friends and allies in Asia that, quote, “we’re back." This was to be in response to a complaint that had arisen in Southeast Asia that we, America, had somehow gone away and had not been attending all the top conferences in Asia and so forth.

So the objective is really a geopolitical objective, not an economic objective. But because the mechanism to express this “we’re back” feeling is a trade agreement, it has to be presented and sold as something that’s going to create jobs in the U.S. and that’s going to benefit the U.S. economy.

So in my mind there are two questions. One is, will a TPP as we understand it at the moment actually be a plus for the US economy? And two, will it in any way affect our security position in the Pacific, in the world, and in some way strengthen that position? I think the answer to both questions is no.


To read transcript of press call in its entirety, please click here.

To listen to audio from the press call, please click here.


East Asia Forum: Free trade agreements should happen for the right reason

April 10, 2014

Typically, countries pursue free trade agreements (FTA) with each other because they share common negotiating objectives and subscribe to broadly similar economic principles.

And based on those commonalities, they see benefit in deepening their trade and investment relationship by taking on a higher degree of mutual commitments within the context of an FTA or regional trade agreement (RTA).

Today, however, more and more countries in Southeast Asia appear to be pursuing or considering FTAs based on an entirely different set of considerations. Trade policy has become increasingly driven not so much by a full-hearted embrace of common principles or the objectives of the trade initiative at hand, but rather by a desire not to be left out or left behind as other ASEAN neighbours move forward with bilateral or regional FTAs.

Click here to continue reading article in its entirety.


LA Times: The all-too-real costs of free trade to average Americans

January 30, 2014

In his State of the Union message, President Obama suggested apprenticeships, tax reductions on new investments, and building new infrastructure as ways to increase jobs and reduce inequality in America.

But he said virtually nothing about what is probably the single biggest cause of lost jobs and stagnating earnings for all but the richest of America's citizens: the U.S. current account deficit, which includes the trade deficit.

Although the Federal Reserve Bank says we're in the midst of a recovery, and the official unemployment rate has fallen below 7%, the economy is far from being out of the woods. That official rate — technically known as U-3 — doesn't begin to tell the real story. It is only one of six unemployment measures kept by the U.S. government and counts all those who say they are unemployed and looking for work. But it does not include those discouraged unemployed workers who have given up looking for a job or those who would like to work full time but are only able to find part-time work. The rate that includes all those people — U-6 — is about 13%. Granted, that is below the 17% of 2010, but it is still far above the 8% of 2007, as we navigate what is being called a recovery — albeit an abnormally slow one.

Read more ...

AMERICAN REVIEW: A New American Century

American Review April 29, 2013 - Conventional wisdom says that America is in decline, that the American century is over, and that the future belongs to the rest, especially the rest in Asia. Dates vary, but predictions that China's gross domestic product will soon surpass that of the US to become the world's largest economy are legion. In 2011, the International Monetary Fund predicted it will happen in 2016.

More recently, The Economist put the date at 2019. Regardless of the exact time, prominent authors such as CNN commentator Fareed Zakaria (The Post American World) and Lee Kuan Yew School dean Kishore Mahbubani (The Great Convergence: see review page 66) have rushed to publish books predicting an historic shift in the global balance of power as a result of this change in relative share of global GDP. Indeed, the Australian government recently indicated its agreement with this thinking by moving to redeploy its resources and reorient its policies in response to a white paper on Australia in the Asian Century.

Click here to read the entire article at American Review 


Emerging Market Should Prepare Now for QE Tapering

1 November 2013

Emerging markets from Latin America to Southeast Asia breathed an audible sigh of relief when the US Federal Reserve – contrary to most market expectations – refrained from initiating its much anticipated policy of "tapering" at its last FOMC meeting in September. Tapering would have in essence signaled the beginning of the end for the Fed's extraordinary and unprecedented stimulative effort known as Quantitative Easing. Through its monthly purchases of $85 billion in securities, the Fed has been pumping massive amounts of capital into the economy and keeping interest rates near zero – all in effort to spur economic activity in the sluggish post-global financial crisis environment.

The implications of QE, however, have been felt far beyond the shores of the US. Much of the capital pumped out by the Federal Reserve has ended up in emerging markets, in search of higher rates of return. Equity markets and various asset classes – real estate, in particular – have surged, especially in key growth markets in Southeast Asia. "Easy money" from the US has funded everything from condo developments and shopping malls, to generous government programs paid for with a credit card.

Read more ...

ANCHORAGE DAILY NEWS: Alaska World Affairs Council presents "The Betrayal of American Prosperity"

Anchorage Daily News April 29, 2013  - The Alaska World Affairs Council presents Clyde Prestowitz, founder and President of the Economic Strategy Institute, speaking on "The Betrayal of American Prosperity: Free Market Delusions, America's Decline, and How We Must Compete in the Post-Dollar Era". Lunch Program. RSVP to 276-8038 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Online registration available at a discount. At the door $26 for Members, $30 for Non-Members, $15 for Coffee and Dessert. Students and UAA staff receive lunch for free.

Click here to read the entire article at the Anchorage Daily News


(7/13/12) Can Obama Save Manufacturing? Prestowitz interviewed by Washington Post

By Zachary A. Goldfarb - The Washington Post July 13, 2012
As he campaigns for reelection, President Obama has embraced soaring political rhetoric, pledging to harness the ingenuity of America "to bring manufacturing back." In beat-up factory towns across the land, he has promoted a vision to rebuild manufacturing after decades of shuttered plants and vanishing middle class jobs. But he wasn't always so sure. Three years ago, confronting the issue in an Oval Office debate, Obama was less of the chest-thumping politician he is today. Vice President Biden led a group of advisers who were making the case for an ambitious plan to reverse the industry's long decline. Obama had witnessed the devastation of lost factory jobs from his earliest days as a community activist in Chicago and felt in his gut that there must be some way to help, but the president, a policy wonk and onetime professor, also wanted to know what the research showed. "There's a narrative that countries have to make things to be successful," Obama said to his economic advisers. "What's the evidence?"

Click here to read the entire article at the Washington Post


New ESI Study - The Tran-Pacific Partnership and Japan


As talks to conclude a Trans-Pacific Free Trade Agreement (TPP) have recently progressed , the question of whether Japan should be added to the present list of eleven (United States, Canada, Mexico, Peru, Chile, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam) participants and thus of whether it can meet reasonable criteria for open markets has come to the fore. A major obstacle is the structure, practices, and industrial policies associated with the Japanese auto industry. It is perhaps the foremost example of what has become known as the "Closed Open Market" phenomenon. In technical terms the market is completely open with no tariffs or quotas. In reality, the Japanese market, with 6.6 percent, has the lowest penetration of imports and foreign brand autos of all the major auto markets, and this is almost exclusively in the very high price luxury segment. Indeed, Hyundai, the Korean auto maker that is currently perhaps the world?s most competitive producer, has abandoned the Japanese market on the grounds that its non-tariff barriers are so great as to make investment nothing but a waste of money and time. In terms of trade negotiations, this Closed Open Market phenomenon means that Japan can negotiate secure in the knowledge that no matter what formal concessions it makes, imports will not rise. In the particular instance of the TPP, this is all the more the case because the negotiating agenda does not cover the intervention in international currency markets, various investment subsidies, and anti-competitive market structures and practices that cause the major distortions of free market trade flows.

Read more ...

Making the Mexican Miracle

Mexico's performance over the past decade has been good, but Korea, China, Ireland, Taiwan, and Turkey are Mexico?s new peers. They have grown more rapidly and delivered greater gains to their citizens. Mexico is like a global corporation in danger of over-confidence while actually losing market share and becoming more vulnerable to unexpected competition and shocks. Making the Mexican miracle illustrates the threats that the Mexican economy faces, and the steps that it must take to remain competitive.

Click here to download the complete presentation


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Latest Publications

The Betrayal of American Prosperity.

The Trans-Paific Partnership and Japan.

Making the Mexian Miracle.

Industrial Policy and Rebalancing in the US and China.

The Evolving Role of China in International Institutions.


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